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Lula Rousseff

Brazilian presidential hopeful Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva holds up the hand of Dilma Rousseff, who is also a former president representing the leftist Workers' Party, at a campaign rally in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina on September 18, 2022. (Photo: Heuler Andrey/Getty Images)

Lula Up 16 Points Over Bolsonaro as Lead Grows Ahead of Brazilian Election

With less than two weeks to go, former leftist president ahead of far-right incumbent by double digits.

Brett Wilkins

With less than two weeks remaining until the first round of Brazil's presidential election, new polling figures show democratic socialist frontrunner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has slightly widened his double-digit lead over far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazilian pollster IPEC's latest survey shows da Silva leading Bolsonaro 47% to 31% in the first-round contest, which will take place on October 2. That's a one-point boost from the previous week's polling.

The IPEC poll also gives da Silva—the Workers' Party candidate who previously served as Brazil's 35th president from 2003 to 2010—a 19-point lead in a potential second-round runoff, which is scheduled for October 30 if no candidate wins over 50% of the vote in the first round.

Other pollsters also show da Silva enjoying a double-digit lead. Datafolha's most recent figures give da Silva a 45% to 33% edge over Bolsonaro in the first round, with 90% of surveyed voters having decided for whom they will vote.

Bolsonaro—an open admirer of the former U.S.-backed 1964-85 military dictatorship in whose army he served as an officer—has said he might not accept the results of the election if he loses. There are widespread fears in Brazil and beyond that a beaten Bolsonaro may attempt to foment a coup or an insurrection along the lines of the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of defeated former President Donald Trump.

Da Silva has been drawing massive crowds of supporters at recent campaign events, including a Sunday rally in the southern city of Florianópolis where he said that when "every woman and every child is eating three times a day, I will have completed my life's mission."

Hunger and food insecurity—which was dramatically reduced through social programs like Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) and Bolsa Família (Family Allowance) during da Silva's first presidential term—have returned under Bolsonaro's right-wing economic and social policies.

Seven former Brazilian presidential candidates from various political parties on Monday called on voters to return da Silva to the Palácio da Alvorada.

"All Brazilian democrats must unite and avoid the tragedy that would be the re-election of the current president," said Cristovam Buarque, a former federal senator and member of the socialist party Cidadania who served as da Silva's education minister.

Also on Monday, Brazilian election authorities denounced a fake narrated video making the rounds on pro-Bolsonaro social media accounts showing the president leading da Silva 46% to 31%.

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